fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "million dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- ",000,000" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Wilford" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2017 18:24:42 -0800
Subject: GOOD NEWS!
On behalf of the Trustees and Executor of the estate of late Mr. Edwin Gabriel, I once again try to notify you as my earlier letter was returned undelivered. I hereby attempt to reach you again by this same email address on the WILL. I was made to understand that my late client Mr. Edwin Gabriel met with you during his business trip before he died.
I wish to notify you that late Mr. Edwin Gabriel made you a beneficiary to his WILL. He left the sum of US$10,000,000,00 (Tem Million Dollars) to you in the codicil and last testament to his will.
This may sound strange and unbelievable to you, but it is real and true. Being a widely traveled man, he must have been in contact with you in the past or simply you were nominated to him by one of his numerous friends abroad who wished you good. Mr. Edwin Gabriel until his death was a member of the Helicopter Society and institute of Electronic & Electrical Engineers. He was a very dedicated Christian who loved to give out.
His great philanthropy earned him numerous awards during his life time. Late Mr. Edwin Gabriel died on the 16th day of February 2015 at the age of 71 years and his WILL is now ready for execution. According to him, this money is to support his Christian activities (May his soul rest with the Lord) and to help the poor and the needy.
Please if I reach you as I am hopeful, endeavor to get back to me as soon as possible to enable me conclude my job. I hope to hear from you in no distant date with your address, direct phone number, fax number, age, occupation to enable me send you the copies of the will documents in your name.